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Christmas Tree in Chicago - the history

November 2, 2010 2010 City Of Chicago Christmas Tree Facts LOCATION: Richard J. Daley Center Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Streets TREE: 70 foot fir tree was donated by the John Colomer family of McHenry, Illinois. TREE CONTEST: For the first time the City of Chicago held a contest to select the Christmas. Seventy-five trees from Chicago, Illinois and Indiana were submitted for consideration. With the assistance of The Brickman Group (landscaping/tree professionals) and the Chicago Sun-Times, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events selected three finalists based on the following criteria: A Spruce or Fir tree; at least 55 feet or more; tree must be accessible to insure a safe removal and must be within 100 miles from Chicago’s Loop. Chicagoans voted on the three finalists. The winning tree received 2,678 votes out of 5,182. LIGHTS: 7,000 red, green and white energy saving LED (light emitting diode) lights Provided by UL Underwriters Laboratories adorn the tree and it is topped off with a brightly lit star. History: Chicago’s first municipal Christmas tree was lit in 1913 on Christmas Eve by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. The tree was a 35 foot tall Douglas Spruce which was decorated with 600 multi-colored lights and topped with the Star of Bethlehem. In December 1956, the City’s Christmas tree was in fact one large tree that had been created from many smaller trees. At that time, the tree was 70 feet tall, decorated with about 4,400 lights and more than 2,000 ornaments, and was located in the Grant Park tree platform at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue. The Tree Lighting Ceremony was moved to Civic Center Plaza, now known as Daley Center Plaza, in December 1966. In 1982 the location was changed to State Street and Wacker Drive, and was returned to Daley Plaza the following year. In 1991 the Mayor asked Streets and San to find a large single transplantable tree to be transplanted in a city park after the holidays. The largest they could find was 35ft. – deemed not large enough for the plaza open space – so CDOT and Streets & San constructed a smaller version using fewer trees – a total of 17 trees standing 50 feet. In 2009 the city selected a single tree, the first time since 1955. The tree was donated by the Weivoda family of Palos Heights.

It all began on Christmas evening in 1913 when Chicago’s first municipal Christmas tree was lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. Standing 35 feet high the Douglas Spruce was decorated with 600 multi-colored lights and topped with the Star of Bethlehem. Over the years the tree got bigger and it wasn't always a natural grown tree -- actually, in 1956, Chicago's Christmas tree was a tree that had been created from many smaller trees: it measured 70 feet tall and was decorated with about 4,400 lights and more than 2,000 ornaments. At that time it was located at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue.

In 1966 the Tree Lighting Ceremony was moved to Civic Center Plaza which is now Daley Center Plaza. In 1982 the location was again moved to State Street and Wacker Drive, and was returned to Daley Plaza the following year.

In 1991 Mayor Daley asked the Department of "Streets & Sanitation" to find a large single transplantable tree which could be transplanted into a city park after the holidays, however, the largest they could find was 35 feet tall and it wasn't in favor to be large enough for the plaza. Again, the tree was artificially constructed from many smaller trees.

2009 marked the first time since 1955 that the city has used one single tree -- The tree was donated by the Weivoda family of Palos Heights.

The 2010 tree, a 70 foot fir tree, was donated by the John Colomer family of McHenry, Illinois.

Christmas in Chicago

Besides of Christmas shopping in Chicago you should not miss 2 events:

Christkindl Market

Experience a traditional German Christmas at the 15th Annual Christkindlmarket, inspired by the famous Nuremberg Christmas market dating back to 1545. Presented by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, this outdoor market offers exquisite handmade gifts, unique ornaments, rare European fabrics and textiles and the opportunity to devour German delicacies like brats, goulash, potato pancakes, cookies and Gluhwein (a warm spiced wine). For Christkindlmarket hours visit Christkindlmarket Chicago
.
Note: if you are interested in German Christkindl Markets, e.g. Nuremberg, Munich, and others, visit: Germany: cities, culture, customs

Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Around end of November the city officially lights up the Christmas tree at Daley Plaza.
Time: 5pm on that day
Date: varies from year to year a couple of days, see our news blog for actual event date: NEWS Blog of ChicagoDossier

 
GPS Coordinates

1 -- Chicago Daley Plaza / Civic Center
Decimal Lat: 41.88345486437 / Lon: -87.6301460773
Degree

 
 
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Last modified: 20101112
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